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Northeastern University 2014 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Northeastern University 
Conference – Colonial Athletic Association  
Coach – Brian Ainscough (10th Season)
Background – The Huskies entered the 2013 season with eight returning starters, high expectations, and a ton of momentum coming off a record breaking 2012 season in which they recorded the most wins and least losses in the history of the program when they recorded a 14-3-4 overall record, won their first CAA tournament championship, and punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. Unfortunately one of the starters who didn't return in 2013 due to graduation was All-American forward Don Anding who had powered the Northeastern attack in 2012 with fourteen goals and seven assists.  Without what Anding brought to the pitch the Huskies struggled to create and finish scoring opportunities in 2013 and the lack of scoring in turn left little or no margin for error on the defensive side of the ball.  As a result they were 6-9-3 overall in 2013 with a 3-3-1 mark in conference play. The Huskies were the number five seed in the 2013 CAA tournament earning a berth in the conference tourney for the third consecutive season.  They were one and done in the 2013 Conference Tourney when they were topped 1-0 by Delaware in a match that went to double overtime. Defender Simon Cox and midfielder Dante Marini were First Team All-CAA selections, defender Jonathan Eckford was a Second Team All-CAA selection, and defender Ambry Moss was a Third Team selection. Midfielder Robbie Schallmo was named to the 2013 CAA All-Rookie Team.     
Offense – Northeastern will be without players who netted thirteen of the eighteen goals they put in the back of the net last year.  The biggest shoes to fill from an attack standpoint are those of midfielder Dante Marini (6g, 5a) who has been a key element in the Huskies attack for the past three seasons.  Senior tri-captain midfielder Donovan Fayd'Herbe de Maudave (1g, 2a) who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa was hampered due to injury last year but looks to be fully recovered and among the returning players who Northeastern will count on for offensive productivity in 2014. Junior forward Devin Devoy (2g, 0a), sophomore forwards Robbie Schallmo (0g, 3a) and Christian McKenna (1g, 0a) who each started fifteen contests last year, and sophomore midfielder Marc Greenblatt who had ten starts are among other returning players who will seek to add to the attack in 2014. However the real difference makers on the offensive side of the ball may prove to be athletic 6'3" freshman forward Frantzdy Pierrot out of the Seacoast United Development Academy and speedy freshman forward Harry Swartz who played for the Boston Bolts and is ranked by College Soccer News as the number 133 player coming out of the class of 2014. Both should have the opportunity to contribute immediately.  Freshman center midfielder Ackim Mpofu, a 2013 NSCAA High School All-American, whose resume includes membership on the U-17 Zimbabwe National Team, is among others who Northeastern will likely count on to add an additional dimension to their attack in 2014.     
Defense – The Huskies lose two year starter Jonathan Eckford due to graduation but they return a very solid group of defenders from the 2013 team that allowed a total of only 19 goals.  The backline will be anchored by senior center backs Simon Cox (0g, 1a) from London, England and Ambry Moss from Nassau, Bahamas. Both Cox and Moss are veteran team leaders and multi-year starters.  Senior back Mike Lobben (0g, 2a) whose absence for a portion of the season last year due to injury hampered the Huskies is now healthy and should play a key role in 2014.  Sophomore Matt Callahan (1g, 1a) who now has the benefit of a year of starting experience under his belt will also be in the mix in the back. Junior Dylan Faber returns in goal after recording six shutouts and posting a 0.96 goals against average as the starter in 2013. However, the competition in goal should be fierce with redshirt senior Jacob Aducama and freshmen Jonathan Thuresson and Oliver Roberts also pushing for the starting spot between the pipes.    

Newcomers – Three Star Recruiting Class  

Leo Lehto – Midfielder – Avon, Connecticut – Avon Old Farms School – Played for HJK-Juniors in Finland from 2010-2011 before playing for Avon Old Farms.

Ackim Mpofu – Forward – Zimbabwe – Cushing Academy – Played for Zimbabwe U-17 Olympics team.  NSCAA Youth All-American.   

Frantzdy Pierrot – Forward – Melrose, Massachusetts – Played for the Seacoast Development Academy.  Athletic center forward.  

Oliver Roberts – Goalkeeper – Massapequa, New York, Chaminade High School – Played for Albertson Soccer Academy.  Goalkeeper of the year at the Albertson Soccer Academy. 

Harry Swartz – Forward – Needham, Massachusetts – Needham High School – Played for the Boston Bolts.  Ranked by CSN as the number 133 player in the class of 2014. Played for the United States in the 2012 Pan-American Games.  

Jonathan Thuresson – Goalkeeper – Orebro, Sweden, Virginska School – Played for Orebro Sportklubb's U-19 team. Athletic 6'3" keeper.  

Wes Turner – Midfielder – Brookline, Massachusetts – Newton High School – Played with the New England Revoultion Development Academy.  Played for FC Blazers from 2009-2012.   

Prognosis for 2014 – Offensive productivity is the biggest question mark facing Northeastern heading into the 2014 season.  Last year the Huskies held their own in terms of the run of play but difficulties in creating and finishing scoring oportunities in the attacking third took a toll on their win total.  If the Huskies hope to win the close contests that eluded them last year they are going to have to develop an attack that has greater big play capablilty while reducing the costly breakdowns on the defensive side of the ball that hampered them at times last year. Ainscough made several lineup adjustments last year seeking to jump start the offense but it may simply have been a case of not having the required talent on board. The healthy return of midfielder Donovan Fayd'Herbe de Maudave is a big plus.  He contributed six goals and four assists in 2012 but only one goal and two assists in 2013 when he was slowed by injuries.  Now that he is healthy he looks to be the guy who will will set the pace offensively in 2014.  Donovan Fayd'Herbe de Maudave's play will likely have a huge impact on just how far Northeastern can move up in the CAA standings.  He is a solid player and appears to be the catalyst but that might be too much pressure to place on one player's shoulders. Northeastern's recruting class has a ton of potential and includes several newcomers who may add immediate punch to the attack but counting on freshmen to do that can be problematic. The Huskies also have a solid core of returning players including several sophomores who gained valuable playing time last year that should pay dividends in 2014. The backline anchored by Simon Cox and Ambry Moss looks to be a team strength. Keys to success in 2014 include the ability of Ainscough to successfully integrate his newcomers in with the returning players, improvement on the offensive side of the ball, and a reduction in the mental lapses that seemed to keep the Huskies from putting together a full ninety minutes of play at times last year. Northeastern closed out the 2013 season with five consecutive losses.  Getting off to a good start in 2014 would be a real confidence builder for a team that worked hard last year and played pretty much everyone close but for a variety of reasons never seemed to turn the corner. The Huskies open the season at home on August 29 when they host New Hampshire. They then take to the road for very challenging contests with Hartford, VCU and Old Dominion. A good showing in those early contests would be a real momentum builder and could help set the pace for the remainder of the season.   


Posted in 2014 Team Reviews

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